What happened to TTIP, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Agreement, and what next with CETA ? UPDATES
see latest updates below and links to the latest developments
One World Week is a member of the Trade Justice Movement (a coalition of NGOs concerned to make trade fairer).
From 2014, TJM has been monitoring the progress of the negotiation of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) betwen the EU and the USA. We were very concerned that so little was known by the public about the proposed Treaty. It sounded dull and remote from ordinary peoples' lives but that perception was misleading. If the treaty were to come into being it could turn back the clock by reducing standards of health and safey and environmental protection that have been carefully put in place for more than 50 years.
"We fear that this agreement, if passed, will prioritise investor interests over the government’s ability to protect the interests of people and our environment, and will undermine important elements of our democratic framework."
TJM members agreed the wording of a letter (see below) which was sent to the then Business Secretary, Vince Cable, outlining their concerns and calling for the negotiations to be abandoned. We shared this letter with you, our OWW supporters, so that you might take action should you wish to do so, The WDM (now Global Justice Now) website had suggestions for action but since July 2014 most of the news and action has been on a WDM hosted specialised website "no TTIP" which has all the latest news and comments about what is happening and the progress of the negotiations or at least as much as is known. They made very disturbing reading!
A massive campaign right accross Europe and in the US seems to have halted the progress of the TTIP ( see articles by Monbiot and Dearden in the updates below ). But a similar treaty, CETA (more about it here), which was being negotiated quietly behind the scenes at the same time, has been completed and was due to be ratified in October 2016 - but objections from Belgium held it up. A new campaign is trying to stop CETA too . More here. The implications of this treaty (and another on Trade in Services) coming into being are deeply concerning for our democracy, environment and human rights. See Monbiot's article below.
“Corporate lobbyists and their captive governments have been seeking to impose such treaties for more than 20 years, starting with the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (it was destroyed, like TTIP, by massive public protests, in 1998). Working in secrecy, without democratic consent, they will keep returning to the theme, in the hope of wearing down our resistance.
When you are told that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance, this is what it means. This struggle will continue throughout your life. We have to succeed every time; they have to succeed only once. Never drop your guard. Never let them win.” (Monbiot in the Guardian, 6 Sept. 2016)
So please tell others about it and help to widen the discussion
38 degrees is also campaigning on this issue - you can contact them here
(Below the updates is TJM's letter to the Business Secretary in 2014)
See article by Nick Deardon of Global Justice Now, in the Guardian 14 November 2016, "TTIP was defeated by activists – Trump just exploited public anger over it" - about the implications of Trump's victory for Trade treaties.
"The TTIP defeated but worse to come: CETA and others"
see article by George Monbiot ( Guardian 6 September2016) which summarises what has happened and the threat of CETA and other potential agreements.
from TJM 23 May 2016
It’s been a busy time for work on TTIP and CETA. heres an update.
- Greenpeace Netherlands have released a massive leak of TTIP negotiating texts which confirm campaign fears.
- Opposition to TTIP has been mounting: concerns have been raised in France, Germany and a number of other countries. In the UK Diane Abbott and Peter Lilley have also raised concerns.
- Negotiations show little sign of substantive progress but negotiators still say they are aiming for some sort of deal by the end of the year.
- The Sustainability Impact Assessment for TTIP has been released (18 months late...) and shows that whilst a lot depends on the specifics of the deal, there are clear risks of negative impacts for developing countries.
Global Justice Now, War on Want, 38 degrees and the Green party in Europe continue to campaign against the TTIP. Global Justice Now reports: "The campaign against TTIP is gaining huge support and great momentum. A year ago, very few people had heard of TTIP. Now, over a million people have signed petitions against the deal in the UK." and two million accross Europe.
They also point out that "The prospects for countries in the global South are bleak. Many enjoy most favoured nation status in trading with the European Union, but this is threatened by TTIP. Worse will follow, as TTIP will become the global standard for trade deals in the future. The power shift to corporations will be echoed across the planet."
The original TJM letter to:
Dear Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills
We write to express our serious concerns about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement (TTIP) currently being negotiated between the European Union and United States. We fear that this agreement, if passed, will prioritise investor interests over the government’s ability to protect the interests of people and our environment, and will undermine important elements of our democratic framework.
Although TTIP has been presented as a ‘silver bullet’ for Europe’s economic problems, there has been much criticism of the growth and employment figures provided by the European Commission. For instance, Ferdi De Ville (University of Ghent) and Gabriel Siles-Brügge (University of Manchester) have argued that TTIP is unlikely to significantly boost growth. Meanwhile a report by the European Commission argues that there will be prolonged and substantial dislocation of EU workers as a direct result of TTIP which will simply entrench European inequality between regions. Furthermore, the European Commission concedes there are “legitimate concerns” that those workers who lose their jobs as a result of TTIP will not find other employment.
We know that TTIP is not primarily concerned with already low tariff barriers between the European and US markets. The European Commission has been clear that the biggest ‘trade barriers’ under discussion are not tariffs at all, but “for example, different safety or environmental standards.” So it seems clear to us that this agreement is primarily about commercial, social and environmental regulation and investor protection in a wide range of economic sectors, including public services. We are concerned in particular that:
- The proposed investor state dispute settlement (ISDS) would allow corporations additional legal power over government policy. Research commissioned by your own government has stated such a mechanism would have no benefit for the UK.
- Negotiations on investment rights in public services and procurement would limit a future government’s ability to oversee and regulate vital services like health and education.
- Harmonisation talks – the very centre of the negotiation – are being used to lower standards on a range of areas from environmental protection to health and safety. This has been pushed by corporate lobbyists. For instance, the European Services representative told a meeting on EU investment policy in 2011: “Industry will oppose any deal in which investment protection is traded off against public policy objectives, including human and labour rights.”
Trade unions, NGOs, faith groups and consumer protection watchdogs are expressing their concern about TTIP across Europe and the United States. We are witnessing growing opposition to an agreement being signed.
Without evidence to support the benefits of TTIP for workers, citizens and consumers in the UK, and with considerable concerns about the detrimental social and environmental impact of TTIP, we are calling for a halt to TTIP negotiations. While negotiations are on-going, we call on you to take immediate actions within the UK’s competency:
- organise a public consultation on the full TTIP treaty;
- insist that the precautionary principle is upheld;
- ensure that health, education, water, sanitation and other public services are protected from further liberalisation; and
- commit DFID to undertaking a comprehensive analysis of the impact of the deal on the multilateral system and on developing countries.
Dave Prentis, UNISON
Paul Kenny, GMB
Sally Hunt, University and College Union
Christine Blower, National Union of Teachers
Andy Atkins, Friends of the Earth
Nick Dearden, World Development Movement
John Hilary, War on Want
Jim Cranshaw, People and Planet
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